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do evil, God did every thing consistent with Divine justice to reclaim him. He never sent a judgment upon Egypt without first warning Pharaoh of it, and informing him for what end it was designed; and if the Lord with-held his restraining grace, it was only as a friend with-holds his advice from one who refuses to be influenced by it; and who, in order to prevent mischief from falling upon the innocent, redoubles his kind. ness to those whom the other strives to injure. Had Pharaoh drawn nigh to God, God would have drawn —migh to him *. The plague of boils was of such a nature, that had not the Lord, who sent it, healed those who were af. flicted, it would have proved fatal; but it was his will to prolong the life of Pharaoh, in order to make him a farther instrument of displaying His Divine power. There was a remarkable discrimination made among the people of Egypt, in respect to the calamities occasioned by the storm of hail, which affected the property of those only who did not regard the word of the Lord. 'I'his strongly intimated that God was dissored to shew mercy to them. - * Though (as has been observed before) the Lord moderated in Pharaoh and his people that terror with which He generally torments the minds of presumptu. ous sinners, so as to enable them to endure reiterated judgments, the king was not totally exempt from it. The mighty thunderings awakened, in Pharaoh’s mind, a sense of guilt, and extorted a confession from him, that the Lord was righteous, and he and his feople wicked ; but his fear was very different from that which is described to be the beginning of wisdom +. It was no more than a temporary dread of divine vengeance,
* James iv. 8. + Prov. i. 7.
inspelling him, instinctively, to seek relief from Him, who alone could give it, It did not produce humility and godly sorrow. The mercy of GoD, which should have led him to repentance, served but to harden his heart, and make him. more obdurate ; which is, the usual effect of. divine mercy upon those, who, by provoking God to withdraw the aid of His Holy Spirit, subject themselves to the influence of that, malignant Being, whose delight it is to make mankind ungrateful to their Almighty Benefactor, - o ... This seetion teaches us, that the Lord can 3.wound and can heal *. That an extraordinary mortality among cattle is designed by him as a punishment to men; that the elements of air, fire, and water, are under His di-rection: that the thunder roars, and the lightning flies, at his command; that the most violent storm ceases at his bidding ; and that he employs all these for the chastisement and reformation of wicked princes and nations. It also informs us, that it is sometimes the way of the Lord to avert these evils from individuals, when he sends judgments on a king and people in general. Let us therefore acknowledge Him as the God of the whole earth ; and ever keep in mind, that His mercy is over them that fear Him. . . .
. . . .
T H E PLAGUES OF LO CUSTS AND DARK N ESS.
AND the Lok D said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the hearts of his servants ; that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and
* Deut. xxxii. 30.
of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt,
and my signs which I have done amongst them: that ye
may know, how that I am the Lord. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. " Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring the locusts into thy coasts. And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unte you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field. - **And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, northy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth, unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lok D their God: Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed 2 - And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh : and he said unto them, Go, serve the Los B. your God: but who are they that shall ge? And Moses said, we will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go : for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go and your little ones : look to it; for evil is before you. Not so; go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord ; for
for that you did desire. And they were driven out from Phraoh's presence. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. - And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of IEgypt, and the Lord brought an east-wind upon the land all that day and all that night: and when it was morning; the east wind brought the locusts. - o And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt : very grievous were they ; before them there were no such locusts as they, meither after them shall be such. . - - For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that. the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left ; and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt. - Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LoRD your God, and against you. - - Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. And the lo R D turned a mighty strong west-wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea: there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. And the Loko said unto Moses, Stretch out thine
P 5 hand
hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egyt; even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand towards heaven:
and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days *
They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days : but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
And Pharaoh called unto. Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord : only let your flocks and your herds be stayed; let your little ones also go with you.
And Moses said, Thou must give also sacrifices, and burnt-offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.
Our cattle also shall go with us ; there shall not an hoof be left behind ; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God 2 and we know not with what we must serve the Lo R p, until we come thither.
But the Lok D hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. ...
ANNOTATIONS and REFLECTIONS.
In the beginning of this section, we find the Lo RD again repeating to Moses, that he had hardened the heart of Pharaoh and all his servants : it is evident that this expression (as we observed before) must not be taken in the sense which the words at the first view seem to convey : the true meaning in this place appears to be, that God had given them up to obduracy, and, instead cfcutting them off, would continue to endue them with bodily strength to sustain the various plagues and torments, which, for the sake of maintaining His own honour in the world, He should bring upon them.
If we call to mind the variety of afflictions which